Saturday, February 14, 2015

Led Zeppelin

Rolling Stone Magazine Feb. 26, 2015

You see, I'm in a band. Do I play an instrument? Not exactly. I can hold a beat and strum a guitar, but I would not call either of those things playing an instrument.  

Where do I begin?

During the summer before my entry into junior high school, I was met with a space of time and the company of none. Friends didn't really stick to me. I didn't seem to have much in common with the girls that I went to school with then. I was a dreamy child in a school-world that I didn't quite get or want to necessarily. Fortunately, older girls a couple of doors down took me in. They wouldn't hold their magic for me, but in that summer, I discovered some of what it was that I dreamed about after having been taken in.

The first note that I heard when I entered their house, both parents at work, was "The Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin, It sent a sensation through me that I had not felt before. What is this? This sound? This magic? I was mesmerized. And with a turntable, I was turned on to the music. I fell in love that summer with John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I was obsessed with "Tommy." And for pure unadulterated ... I didn't know what it was yet ... I found Led Zeppelin.

Now, however many years later, at band practice, I was finally able to understand what I didn't know before. 

Let's start with band practice. We are a band of three; two of us have never properly learned how to play an instrument. I had the idea of forming a band when I learned that Meg White did not play the drums before she met Jack; no, she learned to play the drums when she became his girlfriend. And she did it quite successfully. If she could just take it up like that, why not me? My accomplices in this are a couple. We are connected by our love of music amongst other things. One late night into morning, I suggested the band idea. And that it should be a punk band. Not only did I think that the idea of the punk band would disguise our general unfamiliarity with musical instruments, but it would give voice to the notion that it definitely is not over until it's over. One of my compadres has been playing at playing the guitar in a somewhat serious dedication. I, of course, would learn to play the drums just like Meg did. And that leaves the third of our trio to be the singer. It doesn't matter, really, whether she can sing or not. We're punk. It's all about our attitude. Being the wordsmith, I came up with a name for us: screamskinstring. That's meant to be said as one word for scream (sing), skin (beat), and string (uh, duh). We even came up with a list of super great song titles that are just waiting for me to write (screamskinstring, searching for the second sun, limp flag, 3 hits to sunrise, and dude). And while we haven't been rehearsing as such, we have spent time together as a band working out some of the basics of being in a band.

One of the basics is in analyzing the performances of other bands. And this brings me back 'round to Led Zeppelin. Last week we hit the motherlode of performances; string is always the one for a good concert video, and this was not exception: Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same." As much as I've always had an affinity for Led Zeppelin, I had never seen them perform. Oh! What I've been missing. I had no idea of the power of that band. I should have given their book of music, but now that I've seen them perform the songs that I've always loved, I can't get my head out of the clouds ... or better, the misty mountain top.

And let's just talk a lot about Robert Plant. Going back to that I didn't quite know what it was all about? It's the definition of Robert Plant. The 12 year old in my heart's desire for something so much bigger than what I could imagine explodes when Plant performs. He is sex. He is sexy. He is a beast. The poses. The struts. The slightly effeminate hand gestures that makes him a little less intimidating. Those jeans. That dick that is constantly seen in those jeans. You can see it for 
yourself in the picture. I'm trying to form words, sentences ... but mostly, I sit here wide open. 

Hey Kanye! You ain't Yeesus. Robert Plant is.

Oh sure, Robert Plant is now 70 ... though, I imagine the man is still sexy as hell in person. And fortunately for me, I learned a long time ago that an imagination is all that one needs to lead a truly magnificent experience of a life. I can just close my eyes, and I'm there in the front row absorbing the gamma rays that reflect off of this man who in this time commanded a stage to sing like a naughty angel climbing the stairway to Heaven.

This one goes out to the Doyle girls who let me in the sound as Bono would have it.

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